Ladbrokes to open new betting shop in Wisbech Horsefair

The Wisbech Horsefair.

The Wisbech Horsefair. - Credit: Archant

AN empty shop in Wisbech Horsefair is to be turned into a betting shop, after council officers decided that the new use would “have a positive impact on the vitality and viability of the area.”

Ladbrokes has also been given permission to install a satellite dish, erect a new air conditioning unit, make alterations to the rear of the building and put up two signs.

Officers at Fenland District Council gave permission for the new betting shop, despite Wisbech Town Council opposing the application because they thought to unit was too close to other bookmakers in the town centre.

In support of their plan, Ladbrokes pointed out that 28 per cent of units in the town’s main shopping area have a non-retail use, and said the unit at 16 Horsefair - formerly Galaxy Travel - had been vacant since October 2011.

An officer’s report says: “The applicant has outlined how the proposed use will maintain the vitality and viability of this area of the town centre, and increase the vibrancy of this area by introducing a use that will generate high visitation rates and encourage linked trips to adjacent shops.

“Maintaining footfall levels in this vicinity could only be beneficial for the health of the town centre as a whole.”

The report adds: “It is considered the proposal would have a positive impact on the vitality and viability of the town centre by bringing a unit into use.”

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The officer says the proposal would attract customers and create activity throughout the day, and may provide an additional reason for shoppers to visit and stay in the town centre.

However, in a note of caution, the report says any further non-retail applications for the area would need careful assessment, “to ensure that units in the shopping area are retained predominantly for retail.”